With summer approaching, homeowners are making sure their AC systems are in good working order. This is important for comfort and convenience, as well as for limiting energy consumption and keeping your utility bills low.
An HVAC system is a complex network of components that all operate together to adjust the temperature inside a building. AC refrigerant is a major one. Even though it is used every day in homes and businesses, most people do not know how it works.
This article goes over the basics of refrigerant and the systems that use it to cool your home. It also covers a few common refrigerant problems you might encounter. Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Refrigerant?
Air conditioner refrigerant is a chemical compound used for cooling homes or industrial systems that produce a lot of heat. These compounds can easily change from a liquid to a gas, and back again.
Historically, there were many different types of refrigerants. Chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons were used in the past, but have been phased out due to their environmental impact.
Today, the most common type of refrigerant is hydrofluorocarbons, such as R-410A and R-134. These contain no chlorine and have the added benefit of making your AC more efficient and reliable.
Sometimes people refer to refrigerants as “freon.” This is actually the brand name of a hydrochlorofluorocarbons mix, a refrigerant that is no longer used in HVAC systems in the United States.
How Does AC Refrigerant Work?
In general, AC refrigerant works by absorbing heat from the indoor air and releasing it outside. More specifically, your AC compressor (as its name suggests) compresses the refrigerant into a highly pressurized gas.
This gas absorbs heat from your home and moves to the condenser, which is usually outside the building. The condenser has fans that blow across pipes containing the gas, cooling it. Here, heat is released and expelled outdoors.
As the refrigerant gives up the heat, it depressurizes into a liquid and moves to the evaporator. Fans in the evaporator also blow over pipes holding the liquid.
The liquid goes through an endothermic reaction, meaning it absorbs heat from the air, cooling it. The fans blow the chilled air into your home.
Common Refrigerant Problems
You may have heard of low refrigerant levels. While this is possible, refrigerant is in a closed loop, so only a leak can result in a decrease in necessary levels.
There are other issues you could experience related to the refrigerant. Common ones include air or moisture entering the system. If any air conditioning component that pressurizes, cools, or moves the refrigerant around breaks down, this could also cause issues.
Typical signs of refrigerant issues include warm air blowing into your home. You also might notice the compressor running for extended periods or having irregular start and stop sequences. All these problems should be addressed by a trained technician, who can catch a minor problem before it becomes a bigger one.
Find HVAC Repair Near You
Now that you understand the basics of AC refrigerant and some common problems related to it, you can know what to look for. A reputable HVAC repair service can identify problems and propose solutions to them.
At Schwartz Air Conditioning and Heating, we offer a range of HVAC services, including repair, installation, and maintenance plans. Our team of excerpts can address any issues you are having, to ensure your system is running as efficiently as possible. Reach out to us today to schedule service.